“In our desire to embrace diversity we are creating division,” said Casey, the government’s former community cohesion adviser, in a speech to Britain’s top police officers. “The far right is growing and they are milking it every time we are overly politically correct and unable to deal with Islamic extremism.”
Casey said “difficult conversations” must be had on Islamic extremism in order to stop groups like Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) from inciting further attacks. “If you’re not alive to the importance of talking about these issues then there’s not much hope… of stopping these horrible things happening to us,” she added.
The dame was giving her first public address since the publication of her review into community cohesion. Her review concluded that as Britain becomes more diverse it is concurrently becoming more divided along ethnic and religious lines.
Released in December last year, ‘The Casey Review’ described the experience of women in some Muslim communities, who are “less likely to speak English and more likely to be kept at home.” Among the report’s recommendations were that migrants take “an oath of integration with British values and society” and that schoolchildren could be taught about British values.
Following the publication of the review none of the recommendations have become policy. “It has been tucked away in the all-too-difficult filing cabinet and it hasn’t seen the light of day,” Casey said. “We need an integration strategy and that’s why the government will continue to fail not just the public… but the police.”
Casey was speaking at a summit of police chiefs and crime commissioners. Following her speech Mark Rowley, who heads the Metropolitan Police counterterrorism unit, said: “We do see evidence of some of our suspects coming from communities with low integration, both Islamist and extreme right-wing. That does not mean everyone from a non-integrated community is a terrorist.”
While the majority of those on the government’s anti-extremism ‘Prevent’ program are from a Muslim background, the far right are making up an increasing number of referrals. Data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) shows the number of far-right referrals rose by 323 cases in 2014–15 to 561 in 2015–16.
In December last year, National Action became the first far-right group to be banned under counterterrorism laws, following its stated support of the murderer Thomas Mair, who killed MP Jo Cox. Home Secretary Amber Rudd labeled the group “a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organization which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology.”